Ships Nostalgia - View Single Post - City of Singapore (II)
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Old 15th January 2019, 18:11
Tim Gibbs's Avatar
Organisation: Merchant Navy
Department: Engineering
Active: 1960 - Present
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 71
Originally Posted by mikekhh View Post
Dear Joe,
Many thanks for your post.
Please be so kind as to expand:-
The grounding was IIRC in 1974 at Lobito en route from Tees to South Africa. Dry docked for repairs in East London.
My information came from Duncan Haws Merchant Fleets Ellerman Lines where he states:-
1973 Jan 1: Transferred to Ellerman City Liners management. Nov. 10: Grounded Southern Africa en route Tees-Lobitos. Nov. 26: Refloated with only marginal damage
Since your post I have checked on Yahoo and Google and the only other thing I can find apart from my entry in Ship Nostalgia is:- says:-
City of Singapore grounded Lobito Bay November 1974 and refloated
This is not the first time I have found Duncan Haws to be wrong, but it would be nice to know more!!
Thanks and Cheers
I was the Superintendent who went to the casualty so I should be able to tell more detail than I can actually remember - but it was >40 years and lots of "stuff" has happened in my life since then!
My memory has it that she was aground for more than 16 days but perhaps it just seemed like it because the Angolan Civil War was well under way at this time and it wasn't a lot of fun being almost completely shut off from the rest of the world whilst trying to get equipment in and get things done. Our agents in Lobito were terrific in such difficult circumstances - such as there was lots of cargo to discharge and very few lighters available AND there were some expensive race horses on board that had to be dealt with.
Between us we managed to hijack a passing salvage tug, the Svitzer (funny how that sort of detail sticks!), that was towing a floating fish processing plant. In the event it wasn't a great help as they had stripped most of her salvage gear off her for this tow job but unfortunately I didn't discover this until after the skipper was given lots of Dollars and booze! In the event, the vessel more or less refloated herself on what passed for a high tide there after she had been lightened.
I'm not so sure about the "marginal damage "! No.1 & 2 DBs were open to the sea but fortunately the bagged cargo in No1 & 2 lower hold had got wet from leaking rivets and then set when we stemmed the leaks so we ended up with the equivalent of a big cement box on the tank tops. Because of this we decide to sail the vessel of S. Africa during a spell of forecast good weather.
I think it was Maurice Hartley who came out to take over the ship and he asked me if I wanted to sail with him. I said no, I rather get home to my new daughter and he was quite happy with that.
I well remember standing on the quay very early in the morning waving them off - I decision I was soon to regret as I discovered too late that the Civil War was going to make getting out of the country very difficult. But that is a separate story!
Never let anything mechanical know you are in a hurry.
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